At the end of every year, I like to reflect on the last 12 months and most importantly give thanks for making it through another year. I don’t take for granted how lucky I am to be alive and to have another opportunity to make life count.
Moments from 2015
I don’t do resolutions in the traditional sense. But I always make a point of refreshing my goals at the start of every year and the more I do this, the more I realize how important planning is when it comes to achieving my dreams.
At the end of 2014, I set a goal of strengthening my relationships with the people who matter most to me. I’ll be honest: I could have done better. Like many well-intentioned New Year’s plans, mine wasn’t clearly defined; by mid-year – with work and travels and general day-to-day minutiae – it had slipped to the back of my mind. But somehow, I still made good progress.
Just by speaking my intention out loud (or writing it, rather) my brain was sub-consciously primed to make things happen. And slowly, but surely – through dinner dates, emoji-filled group texts and vacations together – I became closer to some of my friends and made a greater effort to spend time with my mom and family. Still, I know this is something I’ll be working on for the rest of my life
Years from now when I look back on 2015, I think I’ll remember it as a year of firsts. It will always be the year I traveled to Europe for the first time, on an epic journey from Paris to London to Rome and back. It’s the year I started a YouTube channel and published more posts on this blog than ever before (including some of these most popular posts.) At work, it’s the year I started becoming more confident as a professional and kicked ass working on some projects I’m really proud of.
The year wasn’t perfect. But I kind of like it that way. The highs were so much sweeter and like other years before, I feel like I’m really growing.
A few days ago, while still on the high of a succesful year, I started mapping out what I’d like 2016 to look like. I borrowed this amazing method from Alex Ikonn (adapted from Robin Sharma), which I encourage everyone to give a try. I’ve been sharing it with friends.
FOUR QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF FOR AN AMAZING YEAR
- What did you accomplish in 2015?
It’s always tempting for me to rush into planning the next thing without stopping to acknowledge what I’ve already done. But life’s no fun if you don’t take the time to celebrate your wins, big or small. The first time I saw this question, not a lot came to mind right away. But when I actually sat down with a pen and paper, I was surprised at what I could think of once I started writing. In addition to the highlights I mentioned earlier, I’m also giving myself a pat on the back for celebrating my 3-year anniversary with Alex, for taking my mom to a Broadway show and crossing off a bunch of other things off of my 101 in 1001 list.
- What were you doing when you achieved your best results?
Most people naturally focus on the negative by asking what could I have done better? But by pin-pointing your best practices, you can turn them into habits that make winning easier. When I think back to the things I’m most proud of, I recognize that I had a clear vision in mind and I was passionate about making it happen. Every single time. Now I know what I need to keep doing in 2016.
- What did you learn this year?
Hands down, my biggest lesson was that everything I want is in my power to achieve. Some of the goals I put on this list seemed almost impossible at the time. And then when I realized the September 27 deadline was approaching, I decided I really wanted to knock Paris and London off the list. I didn’t know how I was going to make it work, but I told myself it wasn’t an option. Not only did I get there, but we even added one more country to the mix.
I often hear people say they wish they could travel more. But nine times out of 10, their excuses are crap. If you can’t afford it right now, save. If you don’t have enough time, re-evaluate your priorities. If you don’t have anyone to go with, go by yourself. And this goes for me too: for any of the things I failed to do this year (like taking driving lessons or blogging more often), I know it’s because I didn’t put in the time to make it happen. Dreaming will only get you so far. In the end, the only thing that counts is doing the work.
- What’s the most important thing you want to do in 2016?
It’s easier to focus on a singular goal, but if you can’t pick just one thing, maybe try one in a few key categories. I do have a super specific goal, but I have to keep it a secret for now 🙁 Sorry.. Like every year though, I have an overall theme and this time it’s to spend as much time as possible doing the things I’m most passionate about. I want to write more, make more videos, spend time with the key people in my life and see more of the world. And the idea is to minimize the time spent on anything else.
Whatever your goals are for 2016, nothing will happen unless you set a specific plan of action for achieving it. I’ve created a month-to-month plan, which will give me the momentum to keep going all the way to next December and which will ensure that I can easily get back on track should I have any set-backs.
Happy New Year and don’t forget to share your resolutions/goals in the comments below!